Last week, the Secretary joined more than 6,000 officials from colleges and universities in Nashville for the Department’s annual Federal Student Aid (FSA) Conference. In a morning keynote address, he outlined the Obama Administration’s higher education agenda and its plans to improve college completion. Specifically, he emphasized the administration’s commitment to college aid and assistance programs, calling it the “biggest investment in student aid since the GI Bill,” and praised the House passage of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act. That legislation authorizes up to $87 billion for student aid over the next decade, including $40 billion for mandatory inflation-indexed Pell Grants and $10 billion to strengthen community colleges. The Secretary also discussed the need to eliminate “prohibitive, time-consuming administrative hurdles” by streamlining the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), working with the Internal Revenue Service to electronically retrieve tax return data, and reducing the paperwork for financial aid administrators. Furthermore, the administration proposes saving Americans billions of dollars by transitioning all student loans to the Direct Loans program. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.edgovblogs.org/duncan/2009/12/secretary-duncan-is-committed-to-making-it-easier-for-students-to-attend-and-pay-for-college/.
Note: The total number of postsecondary awards below a bachelor’s degree (either certificates or associate’s degrees) increased 28% to 1.5 million between 1997 and 2007. Indeed, in 2007, 40% of undergraduate credentials conferred by institutions participating in federal financial aid programs were below the bachelor’s degree. And while community colleges still account for the largest share of these credentials (58%), the share conferred by private, for-profit institutions increased from 24% in 1997 to 29% in 2007. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2010167.